Buchanan named acting president
ADAMS State Trustees made a change at the top Friday when they voted unanimously to not renew the contract of Dr. Cheryl D. Lovell after four years in the role. Vice President of Academic Affairs Kent Buchanan was named acting president.
The Trustees were meeting into the weekend to discuss “next steps” in moving the university forward, according to a statement. In 2021 Adams State celebrated its 100th year since its founding in 1921, but declining enrollment throughout Lovell’s tenure, departures by key administrators, and sagging morale among faculty and staff pushed the Trustees to make a change.
Lovell’s tenure was marked by a growing sentiment of distrust on the campus toward her leadership style and decision-making. She had inherited a campus already with low morale following the rocky tenure of Beverlee McClure who resigned as president in March 2018.
Lovell also inherited a financially struggling university, but she was able to address the budgetary problems through attrition and downsizing of staff. Adams State was hailed by Moody’s Investors Service for its financial turnaround.
She was not able, however, to address employee morale and instead found the campus growing more disenchanted with her leadership as the academic years progressed. She also began losing the confidence of individual trustees, including Board Chair Michele Lueck, according to former and current trustees who Alamosa Citizen has talked to.
Lueck, said two former trustees, was a strong proponent of hiring Lovell over local candidates Armando Valdez and Marguerite Salazar who were finalists for the job when Lovell was named president. Eventually, though, Lueck also began to sour on Lovell, and one former trustee said the two had grown distant.
Buchanan will serve as acting president and has the credentials to support a nomination as permanent president. He arrived at Adams State in 2020 from Oklahoma City University, where he worked for 13 years as provost and vice president for academic affairs. Prior to Oklahoma City, Buchanan earned tenure as professor of biology at two universities, including Tulane University Health Sciences Center where he worked from 1999 to 2006.
Adams State will now be seeking its 12th president in school history.
Photos: Adams State University